My intention behind this piece of writing is to make those people enlighten who do not believe in the esoteric meaning of the holy verses of the Quran. Let me start my writing with an example from the holy Quran that is the episode of Musa and Khizr . (sura Kahaf)
The episode began like this, on the direction of Almighty Allah, Musa along with Usha (companion) started his journey with food which was in form of a cooked fish to meet the Khizr who was blessed with the unique knowledge by Almighty Allah. The intention of the meeting was to make Musa familiar about the Knowledge which was unfamiliar to him. While travelling, Musa asked Usha to place the fried fish so that they elude their appetite but he replied Musa that the fish they cooked for food came into life and jumped into the sea and he forgot to mention about the same. Musa, Oh! “That is the place where that person will meet us according to the direction of Almighty Allah” so they turned back reached that very place and the person (Khizr) was already waiting for him. They proceed the journey and the details of which is as under.
- Once Khizr and Musa were to cross a river. They saw a boat tied at the bank of the river and sat in it. As the boatman rowed the boat across, Khizr started making holes in the bottom. That shocked and surprised Musa. He came out in alarm: What is God’s name are you doing? We shall be drowned.’ Khizr put his forefinger on his lips. It seemed a new boat and it was getting flooded after he had made holes, Khizr put stoppers in them. Soon they reached the other side safely
- Moving ahead, Khizr saw the boy playing on the ground, Khizr wrung his neck to death. Musa screamed. What! You have put and innocent boy to death.’ But Khizr again warned him to be quiet.
- Soon they came to a village. They knocked the door of a householder for food but instead of giving some food to them they humiliated them. They came across a dilapidated boundary wall of that house. Khizr stopped and started putting the bricks lying on the ground one a top of the other on the wall in to to repair it. Musa got puzzled he told him that he had put a young boy to death he was repairing and old wall. But since he had given his word to Khizr, he kept quiet.
Khizr then explained everything to Musa About making holes in the bottom of the boat, he said that the ruler was a tyrant and his men would certainly have taken his new boat away for his pleasure if they had not bored holes in it. He did not want the boatman to lose his livelihood.
Second, he has killed the boy because he was a bastard. Khizr was able to foresee that he would grow up into a heartless man who would torment innocent people. He “Now tell me, was my conduct right wrong.
What about the repairing of the old wall? Under the wall lies a buried treasure. He wants the villager, who are poor and needy, to discover it and become prosperous. This they will do when they plough the land. Finding the wall in their way, they will demolish it and discovery the treasure.
This is the one of the aspect to understand the episode but sufi add one more dimension to this episode that is its core essence. According to Sufis,
- Almighty Allah could directly acquainted Musa about the secrets of those incidences but He enlighten Musa through 3rd person that is Khirz which clearly shows that one cannot attain the highest form of knowledge without guide but there are some exceptional cases where Allah directly revealed the knowledge to any one like Hazrat Khazir. There are many such examples in the history where we meet with some of the personalities who had no as such any teacher/guide but they enlighten the whole world with knowledge and became the torch bearers for humanity. The knowledge (Alim) that the person directly received from the Almighty Allah by way of institution or by any way. This is known is Khazri Alim in Sufi terminology.
- Directing Musa to reach to the particular place in search of the person whom he was supposed to meet is the simple way to make Musa aware that nothing can be achieved without struggle.
- Cooked fish that became alive at the particular place shows that where ever there is the existence of Wli (Friend Allah) death turns into life. Sufis metaphorically used fish as the heart of a person which regain its energy when he/she encountered with the friend of Allah/ Wali and ultimately he/she jumped into the ocean of knowledge same as the fish jumped into the ocean making a path that leads to
May I cite here one more example that is when Almighty Allah send a message to Prophet Mohammad(pbuh) in (sura Fata) stating that his success is very near and when the same was communicated to Sahaba (companions),they expressed their happiness, enjoyed but at the same time the eyes of Abdulla Bin Abbas filled with tears, there was a grief on his face the reasons was that he realised that one more hidden message interwoven with these verses was that the time is imminent when prophet Mohammad(pbuh) was going to separate from them physically. In fact, both the messages whether manifested or hidden are true. Do any one dare to ask a question to Abdulla Bin Abbas that why he comprehended the verses differently.
The Quran has been revealed to Mankind through Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) . There are two ways to understand its content one is its outward ( Zahari) meaning and the inward ( spiritual) meaning. One who wants comprehend the true meaning of the this sacred book should accept both the ways but to remain only stick to one existence of meaning and underestimating the other one is total rudeness and nonsense. Commentaries dealing with the ẓāhir of the text are called tafsīr (“commentary”), and hermeneutic and esoteric commentaries dealing with the bāṭin are called taʾwīl (“interpretation” or “explanation”), which involves taking the text back to its beginning. Esoteric commentators believe that the ultimate meaning of the Qurʾān is known only to Allah and his prophet Mohammad (pbuh) or the persons whom Almighty Allah will bestow. So, one who claims that I understand the content of the Quran fully is fool. Abdulla Bin Abbas was the first companion who wrote the interpretation of the Quran He extracted from it what he understood keeping in view the need of the time and intellectual capacity of that time. Now the question arises in mind if the genius companion like Abdulla Bin Abbas gave the interpretation therefore why there is need to write more and more tafsīr? Actually there is no end meaning or end word so for the meaning of the Quran is concern. To say that the Quran is the ocean of knowledge and each drop of it is itself an ocean is too little to say about this holy book.
Haroon Rashid Bhat
Govt teacher zone Ganderbal Kashmir